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Lake life

MLF: POW! Wheeler shows up in knockout round

Jacob Wheeler releases a Caney lunker back to fight again another day. MLF photo

Here’s something we reported in yesterday’s writeup about the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour yesterday:

If Jacob Wheeler can make it to Caney, watch out.

That lake is made for him. He could bring in a mega-bag.”

Well, Wheeler not only made it through the cut at D’Arbonne, he showed out at Caney Creek Reservoir Wednesday in the knockout round with his personal best tournament catch. That’s saying a livewell full! The Harrison, Tenn. angler caught nine bass weighing 43 pounds, seven ounces. His largest was seven pounds, 11 ounces.

“This is officially the best day of fishing I have ever had as a professional bass angler,” Wheeler said.

Overall, Caney wasn’t the mega-catch bass lake Wednesday that folks were hoping it would be. Fluctuating weather patterns made fishing tough, even for the best. But the fish are there. Several anglers reported seeing huge fish after huge fish on their electronics, but they just would not bite. But at day’s end, there were ten anglers left that impressed the bass enough to make the cut. The event started with 80 and after four days on Lake D’Arbonne and a day on Caney, they are the last men standing to battle the bass and Mother Nature at Bussey Brake.

Two spots were already filled prior to Wednesday’s fishing by the previous round winners, Mark Daniels Junior of Tuskegee, Ala. and Jared Lintner, of Covington, Ga. punched their ticket on Lake D’Arbonne. The final eight were added at Caney and man, it was a day of chunkers and some lunkers.

Here’s the way the day stacked up for those heading to Bussey.

At Bussey Thursday, the anglers all start out a 0-0. It’s a heads up tournament, catch as many as you can with the total weight for this day’s fishing only determining the winner.

Bradley Roy with a Caney lunker

A lot of the anglers turned to chunking lipless crank baits and jerkbaits and Caney’s lunkers answered the call. It didn’t take long in the morning for Randy Howell a 10 pound, 11 ounce bass – the largest ever landed in an MLF Bass Pro event. And Shin Fukae of Osaka, Japan actually caught 11 pounds of bass, a seven and a four pounder, on back-to-back casts. But it wasn’t biscuits and gravy for everybody. At 1 p.m. half of the 40-man field at Caney had yet to catch a scoreable bass. But the afternoon bite brought better results for some of the anglers.

Randy Howell with the biggest bass ever caught on the MLF Bass Pro Tour — 10 pounds, 11 ounces

The stumpy waters of Lake D’Arbonne had anglers limited in how much running they could do in their boats. But there was almost a constant roar of big outboard motors on Caney as they shed that bent up desire to burn gasoline and chase the next best spot to fish. While the big ones were grabbing headlines, fishing wasn’t really on par with what Caney can do. The major biting period ended just before competition hours began. Post-major biting periods are tough and just like at D’Arbonne, the cold water was still making fish sluggish. You think it was warmer Wednesday? Check out some of the photos at the bottom of this page.

The next important number? 100,000.

That’s the amount of dollars that will be on the winner’s check presented at the end of the final day at Bussey Brake north of Bastrop Thursday around 5:30 p.m. Anglers will fish from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. There are some other big payouts, too: $45,000 for second, $38,000 for third, $32,000 for fourth. All told, there is $800,000 in prize money with every angler down to 80th place taking home a check.

The event was brought to the area by the Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Louisiana Office of Tourism. The MLF organizers have been very complimentary of the welcome they’ve gotten from both groups, businesses and individuals in Ouachita, Union, Morehouse and Jackson parishes.

Cold? Yes, it was Caney cold Wednesday morning

Be sure to watch the Stage One Championship Round from Bussey Brake live on MLF NOW! at MajorLeagueFishing.com, the MLF mobile app or MyOutdoorTV.com.

Stage Two of the MLF tour will head to Lake Fork out of Quitman, Texas on Feb. 19-24.

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